Saturday, October 3, 2015

October 4 - Stress: The Gift of Sabbath

I hope this sermon series has been helpful for you. It's been helpful for me to think about what I've been preaching on. Please remember that this doesn't end stress - we'll be dealing with stress throughout our lives. I do hope, though, that you have some tools to handle the stress that inevitably comes. Don't forget that if you have a stress level that is impacting the quality of life there are people like pastors and counselors who are more than happy to talk and work with you. Now a few notes related to this weeks' sermon:

There's some debate about how prolific silence really is. The article I quoted from relies on research by Gordon Hempton, an "acoustic ecologist." As far as I can tell he's the world's leading expert on the subject.

Silence is good, but too much of a good thing is still too much. Even silence.

 Panic attacks are real. They are physiological reactions, not just something made up in a person's mind. If you know someone who has panic attacks, probably the worst thing to do is pretend that they aren't real. At the same time, the best thing for the person having the panic attack is to get distracted from it. When I had panic attacks, I'd try to take a nap (which is hard when you're panicking!). Just like panic attacks are real, so are panic disorders. If you or someone you know struggle with a panic disorder please see a counselor. I can give you references. They are almost always able to be at least somewhat controlled with counselling and/or medication. Depression is also very common in people with panic disorders - another reason to seek treatment!

For a Jewish reflection on Sabbath see this good source.

Wikipedia of all places mentions Leviticus as a source of the practice of crop rotation.

If you ever find this toy, don't buy it!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

September 27 - Stress: Gaining Control

The Legacy Project of Karl Pillemer continues to share helpful insights. Check it out, and maybe also check out Pillemer's book 30 Lessons for Living.

There is a common misunderstanding that slavery in the first century wasn't as terrible as American slavery during and before the Civil War. This is especially spoken by people who want to reconcile the Bible's sometimes neutral view on slavery with the importance of freedom. But the reality is that first century slavery was just as barbaric. This short piece from PBS gives you a quick look.

Embrace the Shake is the name of Phil Hansen's TED talk. The link takes you to the full video of his talk. It's only about 10 minutes long and shows lots of cool artwork.

Locus of Control can be a little tricky to understand. The link is to a lesson on it that you might find helpful.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 20 - Stress: The Secret of Success

First, a couple things from last week.

1. A couple of you have asked again about a copy of the diagram I used. It was my version of what is found in The Anatomy of Peace. You can read an excerpt from the link on last week's post, or this review. Both have the diagram as it appears in the book.

2. Some have also asked about the prayer that was used at 8:15 and 11:00. The text is below. Sandra's breath prayer idea is similar to these. I practice this form of prayer too.

Prayer of Reconciliation:
Reconciling Christ, bless our efforts to bring about reconciliation.
Give us the strength to persevere without counting the hurts,
and to find within ourselves the capacity to keep on loving.

Give us the grace to be able to stand in the middle of situations,
and to be a conduit for the deep listening
which can lead to healing and forgiveness.

Help us to conduct ourselves with dignity,
giving and expecting respect, moving from prayer to action,
and from action back again into prayer.

Grant that we may be so grounded in your love,
that our security is not threatened if we change our minds,
or begin to see a better way to act.

Bless those who are called to reconcile on a large-scale –
politicians, world leaders, leaders of business,
and those who stand in the midst of bitter conflict.

Reconciling Christ, bless us and bless all who engage
in the sacred work of envisioning new wholeness,
and bringing people and nations together.  Amen.

~ written by Ann Siddall,

And a couple things from this week.

I want you to hear again that I really believe what I'm preaching today. You don't have to give in to what society says is success. And you will be happier when you can achieve the success that you choose to strive for.

A good read for parents considering how to provide a "perfect" childhood for their kids. It may not be good for your kids or for you.

Surprising facts about happiness. If we define success as happiness, you  may be interested in this.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

September 13 - Stress: Love Hurts

We're starting a four week series on Stress this weeks. I hope you follow along in worship or online at You'll see some additional information and tips here throughout the series.

Before you read any further

If you have stress or anxiety of a severity that you have thought about ending your life, please stop now and call 1-800-273-8255. Step out of worship if you need to make the call. You can also always talk with one of the pastors.

Today's stress relief tip from Dr. Amy Jacobsen is diaphragm breathing. It's a little harder to do than what you might first think. Here's a short video to help you practice. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy to do.

We usually read Scripture from the Common English Bible, but today I preferred the translation in the New International Version. If you ever want to compare versions is a great resource.

Sermon Notes

I recall reading about several studies in the past that discuss how much of our language is non-verbal. This article shares that information again along with a powerful story from a business perspective.

Bowling Alone is the classic text on the subject of our declining "social capital." It's important to note that it predates so much of what we would now identify as technological deterrents to spending time with others.

The Collusion Cycle comes from the work of The Arbinger Institute. Their book The Anatomy of Peace is fantastic. You can read part of the book that deals with the cycle here, but I encourage you to consider reading the whole book. The Collusion Cycle also reaches back to the work of Jewish philosopher Martin Buber's work I and Thou. The Anatomy of Peace is easier to read because it is told in narrative form, but I and Thou is more comprehensive in the ways that we can treat people.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers' Day!

Jeni Anderson, our Pastor of Worship Arts, is preaching today. Enjoy the message and a beautiful day!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 4, 2014 - First Fruits

Thank you again to all of those who are bringing First Fruits offerings today for the Imagine Campaign. I am truly grateful! But first fruits aren't just about money - they are about choosing to live intentionally for God.

Just a couple links for you today.
A good blog post on what the Bible teaches about tithing.
A list of everything Jesus said about financial giving.

Remember I never (or almost never) endorse blogs I link to as a whole. I haven't read everything they've written. These particular pages are helpful to read, though.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 13 - Palm Sunday - Give Up on People

For this week one link only that will send you to more information than you probably care for about Palm Sunday.